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Hundreds attend Hubway Birthday Bash

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  July 25, 2012 04:57 PM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Hundreds packed the Boston Society of Architects’ BSA Space for the Hubway Birthday Bash.

Hundreds packed a downtown exhibition space inside the Atlantic Wharf tower on Tuesday to celebrate the first anniversary of the Hubway bike-sharing system in Boston.

It’s been a successful year. So far, cyclists have taken 360,000 trips using Hubway bikes, burning more than 14 million calories, according to figures released at the event. Just over 7,500 have signed up for annual memberships, and the system has kept 120 tons of carbon from entering the earth’s atmosphere through vehicle exhaust.

“Nobody could ever predict the successes we’ve had the first year [Hubway has been] in the City of Boston,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Menino praised the system for what it has done to make Boston a more bike-friendly city and its supporters for making that possible. He singled out the city’s former Bike Czar Nicole Freedman for bringing Boston out of the “Dark Ages” on the issue of cycling.

Menino said his own eye doctor recent told him that he rides a Hubway bike every day from South Station to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“Hubway is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow,” Menino said before going on to talk about the system’s upcoming expansion to Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.

Scott Mullen, Hubway’s general manager, spoke of the “power of the bicycle to transform urban areas” and the many reasons people choose cycling over other transportation options.

“Whether you’re on a bike because you’re commuting or you’re racing, you’re doing it for the environment, maybe you’re doing it just because it’s just the way to get around, kind of like Hubway,” he said. “It’s kind of magic.”

The crowded event included free mini-burritos from Boloco, beers from Harpoon Brewery, and snack bars from LäraBar, as well as samples from three brands that got into the spirit of the event by serving their wares from bike carts: Taza Chocolate, Ocean Ave. Pops, and coffee purveyors Equal Exchange.

Local string players John Nolan and Calin Peters, who form the duo Flightless Buttress, performed instrumental music as hundreds of bicycle enthusiasts packed the space. Many wore t-shirts proclaiming their affiliation with Hubway, MassBike, the Boston Cyclists Union, or another biking group.

Anyone not already wearing a cycling garment was swiftly bedecked in Hubway stickers.

Among the biking enthusiasts present was 26-year-old Lindsey Barcebal, who doesn’t actually need Hubway because she uses her own bicycle for transportation, riding each day from her home in Jamaica Plain to work in Cambridge and back again.

She said the trip is a good chance to loosen up her muscles before spending hours on her feet working in a restaurant.

“Biking to work, I think, is definitely one of my favorite times of day,” Barcebal said. “Boston is such a walkable city, but you can really enjoy it on a bike.”

Amy Reinhart said she uses Hubway regularly. When the weather cooperates, her commute starts with a ride on her own bike from her home in Quincy to Wollaston Station on the Red Line. She then gets off the train at the Broadway stop in South Boston and takes a Hubway bike the rest of the way to her job at Fan Pier. But her favorite time to use Hubway is midday.

“It lets me go farther, like at lunchtime when I have limited time,” said Reinhart, 48. “It expands my lunch options.”

On a bike, she said, she can ride from the South Boston Seaport area all the way to Post Office Square or even the North End. And the more she uses Hubway, and the more Hubway locations she finds, the more potential uses she thinks of.

“I’m really anxious to see where they’re going to be expanding into Cambridge and Somerville,” she said. “The company I work for has an office in Cambridge.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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